Different Perspectives:
Understanding and Maintaining Multiple Perspectives in the Workplace

Arin N. Reeves
August 2009

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
– Sonia Maria Sotomayor

This quote from Sonia Sotomayor, delivered in a 1994 speech entitled A Latina Judge’s Voice, has framed a significant aspect of the debate around the first Latina nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. While Sotomayor’s supporters applaud her diverse life experiences as a Latina from the Bronx along with her extensive legal experience and her judicial record, her detractors point to this quote as evidence of racism. As Newt Gingrich tweeted, “Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman’… new racism is no better than old racism.” Gingrich, subsequently, backed off his initial statement and stated that “[t]he word “racist” should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable.”

Think Smarter. Lead Better.

  • In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.

    Audre Lorde
  • Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

    Walter Lippmann
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.

    Leo Tolstoy
  • Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.

    Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.

    Malcolm Forbes
  • There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.

    Michel de Montaigne
  • Diversity creates dimension in the world.

    Elizabeth Ann Lawless
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity.They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Controversial' as we all know, is often a euphemism for 'interesting and intelligent.

    Kevin Smith
  • America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.

    Louis D. Brandeis
  • Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.

    James Surowiecki
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.

    Isaac Asimov
  • Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • One must even beware of too much certainty that the answer to life's problems can only be found in one way and that all must agree to search for light in the same way and cannot find it in any other way.

    Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.

    Theodore Roosevelt
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.

    Charles Evan Hughes
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

    Albert Einstein
  • The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship.

    Deborah Tannen
  • To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

    Tony Robbins
  • Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.

    Thomas Jefferson
  • Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.

    Madame De Stael
  • It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

    Albert Einstein
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.

    Woodrow Wilson
  • Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • Differences challenge assumptions.

    Anne Wilson Schaef
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald